BS in Agriculture in the Philippines

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Program Overview

Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (BSA) is a four year degree program designed to provide students with the technical knowledge in crop raising, agricultural chemicals, fertilizers, integrated pest management, seed conditioning and technology and other areas related to production and quality control in the food and fiber industry. In addition, it also teaches students about livestock raising and managing a farm or agribusiness.

The BS in Agriculture program helps students understand modern farming by teaching them the process and techniques in identifying, diagnosing, and analyzing problems and in designing, packaging, and applying technologies needed in the development and conservation of agriculture and food system resources.

Students who satisfactorily completed the first two years shall be awarded the Certificate of Agriculture Science (CAS) which the students may use for immediate employment or application for TESDA Skills Certification subject to the requirement of the specific TESDA Training Regulation being applied for.

Subjects and Curriculum

The subjects in the BSA curriculum are divided into three main categories:
  • General Education courses:
    Language and Humanities Cluster, Mathematics, Computer and Natural Science Cluster, Social Sciences Cluster, Mandated Subjects
  • Fundamental Agriculture courses:
    Crop Science, Crop Protection, Animal Science, Soil Science, Agricultural Extension and Communication, Agricultural Economics and Marketing, Introduction to Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, Introduction to Agriculture, Fundamentals of Agricultural Engineering, Genetics, Biotechnology and Society, Introduction to Ecological Agriculture, Methods of Agricultural Research
  • Core courses:
    Post Harvest Handling and Seed Technology, Principles and Practices of Plant Breeding, Propagation and Nursery Management, Beneficial Arthropods and Micro Organism, General Physiology and Toxicology, Animal Nutrition and Feeding, Slaughter of Animals and Processing of their Products, Soil Survey, Classification and Land Use, Management of Extension Programs, Basics of Project Study and Development, Agricultural Policy and Development, Agribusiness Commodity Systems, Seminar, Colloquium
Students of the BSA program are taught lessons through classroom lectures, hands-on and practical exercises and seminars. They also gain experience by visiting different government agencies and private institutions handling agriculture, farms and other Agribusinesses.

A Field Practice or On the Job Training and an undergraduate thesis must be completed to be able to qualify for graduation.

Comparing BS in Agriculture, BS Agricultural Engineering and BS in Agricultural Technology

In terms of the curriculum, BS in Agriculture is mainly focused on topics such as animal science, soil cultivation, crop production, livestock raising and the preparation and marketing of Agri-products.

BS Agricultural Engineering revolves around the application of engineering principles in the production, processing, handling and storage of food, fiber and materials. It also covers areas such as irrigation and drainage of agricultural land, soil erosion control, the planning of agricultural buildings and structures, post-harvest technology and agricultural waste management.

BS in Agricultural Technology is said to have the easiest curriculum, emphasizing on the application and integration of agricultural/biological sciences and agricultural techniques in the production and processing of food and agricultural products.

In terms of the duration, BS in Agriculture and BS in Agricultural Technology are completed within 4 years while BS Agricultural Engineering is a five year course. All three courses require their students to undergo an on the job training.

Among the three, only BS in Agricultural Technology does not have a board examination.

Is Agriculture a profession?

Agriculture is a profession. A graduate of BSA who passes the Agriculturist Licensure Examination is called a Licensed Agriculturist.

The responsibilities of an Agriculturist include:
  • Provide information or recommendations to farmers or other landowners regarding ways in which they can best use land, promote plant growth, or avoid or correct problems such as erosion.
  • Develop new or improved methods or products for controlling or eliminating weeds, crop diseases, or insect pests.
  • Study soil characteristics to classify soils on the basis of factors such as geographic location, landscape position, or soil properties and develop ways of altering soils to suit different types of plants.
  • Investigate responses of soils to specific management practices to determine the use capabilities of soils and the effects of alternative practices on soil productivity.
  • Plan and supervise land conservation and reclamation programs for industrial development projects, and waste management programs for composting and farming.
  • Conduct experiments to develop new or improved varieties of field crops, focusing on characteristics such as yield, quality, disease resistance, nutritional value, or adaptation to specific soils or climates.
  • Survey undisturbed or disturbed lands for classification, inventory, mapping, environmental impact assessments, environmental protection planning, conservation planning, or reclamation planning.
  • Conduct research to determine best methods of planting, spraying, cultivating, harvesting, storing, processing, or transporting horticultural products.
  • Study insect distribution or habitat and recommend methods to prevent importation or spread of injurious species.
  • Organizing presentations, demonstrations, training and farm walks for clients, colleagues, partnership organizations, professional bodies and other interested groups.

What are the admission requirements for the BS in Agriculture program?

Requirements at each school may differ, but these are the common requirements:
  • Must be a high school graduate.
    Those who did not complete high school education may opt to first attend Alternative Learning System (ALS) and pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) to qualify for college. However, some universities only offer selected courses for PEPT passers
  • College entrance exam: must pass the college entrance examination with a specified rating set by the school.
  • Interview: must pass the interview conducted by the college dean/faculty.

What skills, traits and attitude will help you succeed in this course?

  • Interest in Farming – knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques
  • Excellent Mechanical Inclination – the craft of farming really is about solving problems using your hands in combination with equipment. Even the simplest of hand plantings need a basic level of mechanical inclination; to keep your row straight, to space rows, to get a seed furrow, etc.
  • Scientific inclination – the BSA course involves scientific research and subjects in Biology and Chemistry
  • Love for manual labor – in the course of the study, you will be asked to perform manual labor and be exposed in farms where you have to do manual labor. A person who is not inclined to performing tiresome and dirty work cannot survive this course.
  • Love for the outdoors
  • Planning skills – the ability to organize and prioritize activities/tasks effectively; must be able to think of ways on how to do a job efficiently
  • Analytical and Critical thinking skills – excellent analytical and critical thinking skills will allow you to analyze the toughest situations, gather new information and formulate a plan that may be outside of the box. You won't be able to solve every organic farm problem with a textbook.
  • Patience – during the OJT you will be assigned in farms and other agencies where the work involved is time consuming and will involve manual labor thus patience is very essential

How difficult is BS in Agriculture?

BS in Agriculture is not a difficult course. The program is said to be one of the easiest courses that you can take if you just want to earn a college degree.

However, it is different from other courses because its Field Practicum or On the Job Training may involve manual labor and exposure to tiresome outdoor work. The curriculum of BS in Agriculture is easy except for some subjects which are science related. A challenging part of the course is the undergraduate thesis paper where you may spend sleepless nights preparing.

How long does it take to complete the BS in Agriculture program in the Philippines?

The BS in Agriculture program takes four years to complete (Note: this may change due to the K-12 integration). The program may be completed in a shorter time in schools that follow the trimestral curriculum.

On the Job Training

A student of the BS in Agriculture program is required to attend a Field Practicum or On the Job Training (OJT) in a farm, plant or laboratory, or other establishments which will provide more practical experience. During the OJT, students are given the opportunity to apply their knowledge and practice their skills in actual settings. The required number of hours for the OJT is 240 hours. It is done under the supervision of a Licensed Agriculturist in the farm or establishment which will evaluate the student periodically and submit the evaluation form to the assigned faculty member. (See source)

Specializations

  • Animal Science – revolves around all topics of domestic animal biology: breeding, genetics, nutrition, physiology, growth, behavior, and management.
  • Crop Science – its curriculum focuses on crop production and the plant physiology specifically in topics such as forest soils, plant stress, plant genetics and crop breeding, soil fertility, soil microbiology, soil physics, soil and water chemistry, and weed science.
  • Agronomy – concentrates on teaching students the science and technology of producing and using plants for food, fuel, fiber, and land reclamation.
  • Horticulture – teaches students with the art, science, technology, and business of plant cultivation. It also covers topics on the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, sprouts, mushrooms, algae, flowers, seaweeds and non-food crops such as grass and ornamental trees and plants.
  • Soil Science – deals with the properties of soil, soil formation, classification and mapping; physical, chemical, biological, and fertility properties of soil; and these properties in relation to the use and management of soils.

Agriculturist Licensure Examination

To become a Licensed Agriculturist in the Philippines, a graduate of BS in Agriculture needs to pass the Agriculturist Licensure Examination. The examination is conducted by the Board of Agriculture under the supervision of the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC).

Career opportunities for BS in Agriculture graduates

  • Jobs for licensed Agriculturists (board exam passers)

    • Farm supervisors and/or managers of commercial farms – work in either animal production, dairy or crop production although some do work with all three. Livestock on farms tends to be pigs, cows or sheep while crops can cover cereals, oilseed rape, vegetables and salad.
    • Horticulturist – involved in the growing, distributing and selling of food crops and plants.
    • Fish farm manager – responsible for the breeding and rearing of fish for the wholesale or retail trade
    • Irrigation Specialists – oversee irrigation and sprinkler system water resources; plan, design, and maintain sprinkler systems; perform related work.
    • Rural practice surveyor – provides practical and strategic knowledge to a range of clients involved in rural land and property.
    • Soil scientist – gathers, interprets and evaluates information about the chemistry, biology and physics of soils to inform and influence issues as diverse as agricultural production, environmental quality, human health, climate change, land remediation and biodiversity.
    • Agricultural merchandise representatives – sells and promotes a line of products offered by a company; must be familiar with a type of equipment and how it operates or have knowledge in such areas as fertilizers and how they affect crops.
    • Agricultural consultant – specialist advisers who provide technical, commercial and financial advice and information to farming, agricultural and public sector staff
    • Agricultural researchers – set up or maintain laboratory equipment and collect samples from crops or animals. Prepare specimens or record data to assist scientists in biology or related life science experiments.
    • Agronomists – to determine the technological processes for sowing crops and the growing of the seedlings of vegetables, fruits, grape vines; gives advice on the cultivation of cereal crops and fodder and deals with the plant growth in companies and agricultural cooperatives.
    • Livestock/animal production specialists – responsible of enhancing the refinement of the animal health and production system in order to develop a sustainable system of access to sufficiently advice on animal health as well as livestock production and productivity.
    • Seed Specialist – help in developing an effective seed system and conduct research on nutrient and crop management solutions, with a particular focus on management options for newly released varieties. He/she will develop principles and decision tools for knowledge dissemination to researchers and professional extension staff.
    • Sales representative and/or extension agents of agricultural chemical companies
    • Faculty members of agricultural institutions
    • Researcher – in government and private agricultural agencies
    • Agriculturist – in Department of Agrarian Reform, other government and private institutions
    • Farm owner/Agricultural Business Entrepreneur
  • Jobs not related to agriculture that graduates can apply to

    • Call center agent – answers phone calls and inquiries of clients and provides customer support, usually to people from other countries
    • Administrative Staff – personnel responsible for the organization and management of office duties and tasks; positions that include office secretary, personal assistant and office clerk
    • Freelancer working online – doing online jobs for clients abroad, such as data entry, article writing, SEO, customer support, administrative support etc., which mainly depends on your skills

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Reviews of BS in Agriculture graduates:

B. B.
◈ Studied BS in Agriculture
◈ At University of the Philippines Los Banos
◈ Graduated 2010

list bulletWhy did I choose Agriculture: Actually, it was an accident choosing this course. I wasn't able to qualify with the course that I like so I have to choose another one among Agricultural courses and Human Ecology which my entrance exam result qualifies. I chose Agriculture because UP Los Baños is known for this course. It's their specialty so I took it though I really don't like Science, and English or Communication courses are the ones that I really prefer. So I really had regrets because I was thinking I would not have the career that I like in the future after graduating.

list bulletAbout my college education: I found my course difficult because it's a Science. And it's English that I like more than this. There are lots to memorize like terminologies, processes, etc. It has a very wide scope.

The enjoyable part in this course are the laboratory subjects where we study the body parts of animals, plant diseases and meat processes, to name some. For an instance, during our Dairy Science laboratory, under the Animal Science major, we are asked to make an ice cream. We brought some crushed Oreo cookies for flavor. It's amazing because it was my first time to enter an ice cream factory and it's inside the campus as part of the College of Agriculture.

I found the Economics subject really boring. I'm not really interested in this subject since high school. I don’t like graphs and analysis. But I had luckily passed the subject.

With this course, I was able to realize that without Agriculture, people will not eat since rice is our staple food especially in Asia. It's really important in our everyday lives. What makes it interesting is that you'll be able to learn the body parts of the animals that we eat and you will be amazed about their terminologies because they sound unusual. With this course, you'll know what does it take before selling the goods out to market.

When you want to take this course, you should have a lot of patience and courage in memorizing the terms and understanding the concepts behind every subject matter most especially with the major that you would like to choose. You should be also enthusiastic in doing field works - you must be a cow boy - when going to farms and performing farm activities.

list bulletMy current job: I'm currently working as an enumerator or a field researcher in my university. An enumerator is the one who conducts house-to-house survey in certain communities. I gather data from my respondents based on the questionnaire given to us by our superiors for research purposes.

list bulletAm I using what I learned in college: The things that I have learned from my agricultural subjects really helped me perform my job because most of the projects that I had is related to farming.

It's really practical to have some knowledge about this course since farming is very familiar to us because what we eat are basically plants and animals or come from these things. So it's very useful not only in my jobs but also in our lives.

list bulletHow long did it take to find a job: Immediately after my graduation I easily got a job because it has been my part time job since I was in college.

list bulletDo I recommend studying Agriculture: Yes, I would recommend taking this course for a person who is adventurous and has love for plants and animals.

In terms of employment opportunities, it has a wide scope, in research, farming business or other science related careers. And the demand for this course when it comes to employment opportunities will be almost the same every year since we need to eat and the food we eat needs to be processed and analyze. I think it's a fulfilling career. Based on my experience, I was able to meet different people especially farmers who really play a very important role in Agriculture. These people inspire me to do my job well because unlike them, even they're the ones who are working so hard to provide us food, they are the ones who has the lowest income. So I pity them, and I want to give significance on what they do for us.

When it comes to salary level, Agricultural careers are getting paid well. Like me, even it's project-based, I get more than enough of what the work deserved.

list bulletAdvice to people who are thinking of studying this course: You should love this course so it will not be too difficult for you if ever you'll consider taking this course. I believe that if you like what you do, you'll be successful on it.
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